Don’t call her Betsy.
After all, though she may seem part Olivia and part Lilly (with just a smidgen of Chrysanthemum), right on the cover the protagonist declares, “My name is Elizabeth!” She then lauds the virtues of her "nine letters long" moniker, concluding, “I also like that there is a queen named after me!” Alas, Elizabeth must fend off “Lizzy,” “Liz,” “Beth” and “Betsy’s” aplenty as her granddad, a neighborhood boy, a merchant and a crossing guard greet her with these nicknames. Never bratty, this girl simply knows who she is and what she wants to be called. Forsythe’s restrained color palette and expressive line contribute to his brilliant rendering of Elizabeth’s character, and his whimsical inclusion of a pet duck (unmentioned in the text) adds another layer of idiosyncratic delight. A double whammy of a punch line first shows readers that “Elizabeth” isn’t quite the mouthful her full name is and then underscores her true sweetness when she acquiesces to having her heretofore-silent baby brother call her “Wizabef?” “Close enough,” she thinks.
This debut picture-book offering from Dunklee and Forsythe is close enough to perfect in its tone, pacing and interplay between words and pictures: Wonderful. (Picture book. 3-7)